We should go beyond just giving thanks Print
Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

As we observe Thanksgiving this week, of course it’s a time to give thanks for the blessings we have received in our lives.

While it is good to give thanks, it may be more difficult for us to go beyond giving thanks.

Parable of the Talents

What do I mean? Hearing the Parable of the Talents in Matthew’s Gospel, chapters  24-25, at Mass last Sunday made me think about this concept.

In this story, a wealthy master is going on a trip for an extended time. He gives three of his stewards talents — probably some kind of money — with one receiving five, one two, and another one. They are entrusted to take care of the talents.

The two stewards receiving five and two talents double the amount they were given. The third steward buries the talent. When the master returns, he is pleased with the first two and invites them to receive more responsibility. The master scolds the third steward and throws him out.

The master’s treatment of the third servant seems harsh, but when we examine it more closely, we realize that this parable has a lesson which can be applied to all of us.

Everything we have comes from God. We are responsible for making the best use of our gifts — not just for ourselves — but to help others.

When we die, Christ is saying, we will be judged on how we’ve used our talents. If we don’t, the judgment will be extreme: we will be cast into hell.

Using our gifts

So as we observe Thanksgiving, we should ask ourselves what we are doing with the gifts we have received. Are we sharing them with others through donations of our time, talents, and treasure? Are we volunteering our time to help those in need? Are we giving monetary donations to organizations that help those in need?

Organizations that come to mind in our diocese include:

Catholic Charities, which especially could use volunteers and monetary donations to help The Beacon, its new homeless day resource center (

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which has 35 conferences in our diocese helping our neighbors in need (

Catholic Multicultural Center in Madison, which offers many services which depend on volunteers and donations (

Giving Tuesday is also coming up on November 28. Consider how you can reach out to use your gifts to help many worthwhile organizations. Go to for more information.